FOCUS: How to drive safely in the snowBy Jon Nurse
January 23, 2013
One in four drivers has been involved in a accident in snow or icy conditions, according to new research from Santander Car Insurance.
Men claim to be more comfortable in the icy conditions, with just 16 per cent admitting in the survey to not feeling confident behind the wheel in snow or ice compared to 43 per cent of women, yet 15 per cent more men have been involved in winter accidents.
Motorists tackling the threats of the road this season with cocksure confidence may be on thin ice, but advice is on hand.
Wokingham Borough Council’s gritters have been out in force over the last two weeks trying to make driving conditions safer.
Julie Pillai, the council’s road safety officer, said: “In bad weather, think carefully about whether you really need to drive and always plan ahead by checking weather and travel information, leaving much more time for your journey.
“It’s not in the interests of anyone’s safety to be stuck on the roads, especially if you have forgotten to maintain your vehicle for winter conditions and pack a survival kit in the boot.”
South Central Ambulance Service, which covers the borough, has also issued a number of safety precautions it is advising drivers to follow this winter.
The advice includes sticking to main roads when possible, ensuring manoeuvres are tackled gently and making sure there is enough fuel for the journey when setting off.
In one warning, the emergency service alerts drivers not to be lulled into a false sense of security by other speeding motorists, as stopping distances can be up to 10 times greater in ice and snow.
Thames Valley Police is urging anyone who does have to travel in snowy conditions to prepare for the journey, pack warm clothes and food and drink, drive safely, prepare your car and keep your distance from the vehicle in front.
Reviewing the Santander study further, many motorists are failing to adequately prepare for the winter conditions.
More than 90 per cent of drivers still don’t put on winter tyres, 53 per cent don’t ensure they have sufficient anti-freeze and 52 per cent don’t check the tyre tread and pressure are of the required levels before setting out on their journey.
Winter tyres are compulsory in some European countries and help reduce braking distances and provide more grip on slippery roads with temperatures under seven degrees.
n See page 27 to find out how Jon Nurse got on at a skid pan advanced driving course.